John Lennon (Aaron Johnson) was a handful as a teen. A troublemaker at his starchy private school, he's raised by his uptight Aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas) until he reunites on the sly with his disturbed mother, Julia (Anne-Marie Duff), who abandoned him when he was five. Turns out mum is an Oedipal textbook case who introduces John to R&B and Elvis and teaches him how to play the banjo and ultimately become the brilliant, tragic genius we all grew to know and love. Illuminating as it might be for fans and disciples of Lennon, Sam Taylor-Wood's bio-pic does get a bit corny, as when it shows how the Beatles — nés the Quarrymen — got together. John and his skiffle band wow a crowd. Cut to a 14-year-old in the audience smoking and nodding as if thinking, "Hey, I can do this!" Then cut to someone introducing that kid, saying, "Meet my mate Paul" (or George — but no Ringo in this film). Well, maybe that's how it happened.